New ways to increase Europe’s sheep… – Information Centre – Research & Innovation

Sheep creation in Europe is on the drop – meaning the EU is now importing more sheep meat than ever. That’s why an EU-funded undertaking is bringing Europe’s top sheep producing nations alongside one another to generate new solutions and very best tactics. As a consequence, farmers throughout Europe are by now observing an improve in both equally sheep creation and profitability that will also benefit people.


© Paul Steven #316843808, 2020

Sheep meat and milk creation is an important business in Europe, specially in nations like Ireland, France, Italy, Romania, Spain and the United kingdom. In actuality, with 85 million sheep on 830 000 farms in the EU, moreover an more 33 million sheep in Turkey, Europe’s flock is even bigger than Australia and New Zealand’s mixed.

But even with this significant variety of sheep, Europe is only 85 % self-enough in sheep meat. As a consequence, the EU is the world’s second biggest importer of sheep meat.

Driving this hole in self-sufficiency is a declining sheep business. Considering the fact that 2000, the variety of sheep producers in the EU has declined by 50 %, and during the past ten decades sheep productiveness has lowered by up to 40 % (depending on the country and the farming program). 

“Different aspects can describe this drop, but the main just one is lower sheep productiveness, or the variety of lambs reared for every ewe joined on the farm,” states Jean-Marc Gautier, Main of Service at France’s Institut de l’Elevage.

On the other hand, despite this damaging craze, Gautier sees major prospects for enhancing sheep productiveness. “By enhancing replica success and lamb survivability, we can make improvements to farm profitability and improve the self-sufficiency of sheep meat in Europe,” he states.

Helping sheep farmers leverage these prospects is the EU-funded SheepNet undertaking, a community of the EU’s top sheep producing nations and Turkey. “Working with experts and shareholders, the undertaking made and shared solutions for increasing creation without possessing to export surplus sheep meat,” adds Gautier.

Making sheep creation more interesting

The project’s main intention was to reach an improve in ewe productiveness of .1 lambs reared for every ewe joined. This would be the equal of 64 000 tonnes of sheep meat, therefore resulting in a web self-sufficiency of 92 %. On top of that, farmers would get an close to EUR ten improve for each individual more .1 lamb sold for every ewe joined.

“We are self-assured that these improvements will make sheep creation more interesting for both equally the current and future generations of producers,” explains Gautier.

To reach this, the undertaking worked straight with farmers, experts, and other stakeholders. Alongside one another, they determined solutions and very best tactics for enhancing ewe productiveness and flock profitability.

“These solutions targeted on every thing from nourishment administration during late pregnancy to colostrum administration, leads to of lamb mortality and abortion, synthetic rearing, ewe body condition rating, and sheep get rid of administration,” states Gautier. “We also developed a lambing stock and technique for superior ram administration.” 

In total, the undertaking made 42 solutions, 88 ideas and tricks, and 22 factsheets. All of these deliverables are readily available by using the SheepNet community system in six languages. Each and every incorporates detailed info on predicted prices and gains, stipulations, references, and comments from true farmers.

Possessing a huge effect

With these solutions in hand, researchers future turned to dissemination. “SheepNet is all about apply-driven innovation and simple understanding sharing,” remarks Gautier. “Through our community, we promoted the implementation and dissemination of impressive systems and tactics for enhancing sheep productiveness.”

Dissemination routines provided the organisation of five workshops for every husband or wife country (35 in total), moreover five transnational workshops and a remaining summary seminar. Other routines provided the creation of 19 push releases, 143 content, 120 movies, and 33 infographics – not to point out the use of many social media platforms.

According to Gautier, SheepNet’s solutions are by now possessing a huge effect. “We’ve acquired major comments from farmers telling us how they are working with our community and solutions to make improvements to flock productiveness, labour performance, and farm profitability,” concludes Gautier.

Centered on the project’s success, researchers introduced EuroSheep, a spin-off Horizon 2020 undertaking targeted on sheep health and nourishment. They are at the moment doing the job on a new precision livestock farming initiative.